“Like a family around a dinner table, the tales in [Half Gods] support, contradict, and argue with one another. They provide a rich disorder.” – The New Yorker
“These are wonderful stories, finely poised, beautifully written, and brimming with a rare wisdom.” – Kanishk Tharoor
HarperCollins India is delighted to announce the publication of Half Gods by Akil Kumarasamy, in India in October this year.
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, Half Gods is a critically acclaimed debut, a collection of interconnected short stories following the lives of a multigenerational Sri Lankan Tamil family, by the US based author of Indian-Tamil origin.
In anticipation of the book’s release in India, Udayan Mitra, Publisher–Literary at HarperCollins India, said, “Akil Kumarasamy’s is a terrific new literary voice and Half Gods has already been widely acclaimed and admired internationally. We at HarperCollins India are very excited to be publishing this exceptional book of short stories, and hope that readers in India and the subcontinent will be as thrilled as we are to acquaint themselves with Akil’s exceptional world of ideas and words.”
Speaking about the themes that the book sets out to explore, the author, Akil Kumarasamy, said, “I wanted to explore the messiness of identity, whether that is nationality, religion or sexuality, by unravelling the notions of the self. When borders are fictitious, bloody lines drawn by colonists, what does it mean to call oneself Indian or Sri Lankan? The structure of the book falls between a story collection and a novel; it is, like us, uncontainable.”
About Half Gods –
Startlingly beautiful, Half Gods brings together the exiled, the disappeared, the seekers.
Following the fractured origins and destinies of two brothers named after demigods from the ancient epic, the Mahabharata, we meet a family struggling with the reverberations of the past in their lives. These ten interlinked stories redraw the map of our world in surprising ways: following an act of violence, a baby girl is renamed after a Hindu goddess but raised as a Muslim; a lonely butcher from Angola finds solace in a family of refugees in New Jersey; a gentle entomologist, in Sri Lanka, discovers unexpected reserves of courage while searching for his missing son.
By turns heartbreaking and fiercely inventive, Half Gods reveals with sharp clarity the ways that parents, children, and friends act as unknowing mirrors to each other, revealing in their all-too human weaknesses, hopes and sorrows a connection to the divine.
About the author – Akil Kumarasamy is a writer from New Jersey. Her fiction has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, American Short Fiction, Boston Review, and elsewhere. She received an MFA from the University of Michigan and has been a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and at the University of East Anglia. Half Gods is her first book.
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